It's the day after Christmas and I've caught myself reflecting on the many ways the women of the Bible show us the daily joys and trials of motherhood. When I was pregnant with Zoe, I often flipped through the Bible, looking for solace from any story that related to carrying a baby in the womb. (By the way, isn't womb a strange word?) . Around Christmas, I felt a strange kinship with Mary that I had never felt before. I would sing the songs about the baby in the manger, secretly anticipating that I would have my own baby, wondering about Mary's labor, her hopes and fears, her worries. I would look around me, press my belly when no one was looking, and sigh with the overwhelming mystery of it all.
 I also felt weak, vulnerable, defenseless, and at the mercy of God. There is nothing like being pregnant to prove to you that your physical capacities are only temporary and can be removed by a tiny little acorn depleting every vitamin and mineral from your body. The fact that one day, you aren't pregnant, and the next day, your life has irrevocably changed is a scary thought. I love having options because it makes me feel safe. It is only a matter of time before you no longer have a say where you go and what you do, is one of the most out-of-control feelings I've ever experienced. In a matter of days, your destiny is beyond your scope of control. Mary, a girl with a future ordained by God, faced the most difficult situations a person can face in a lifetime after she found out she was pregnant. She was  judged, ostracized, subjected under a cruel ruler, forced to flee for her family's safety,  asked to release her son to a dangerous ministry, and present for the cruel death of her child, God's chosen, on a cross.  The birth of her child meant the end of her "version" of life as she knew it. How did she do it?

I have struggled to release my own anxiety and worry over job security and the potential fear of the future--of all life's twists and turns. Some days I want to crawl into a bunker and never come out again, for fear of anything happening to Zoe, to Chris, or to me. Crippling anxiety and fear is a reality in these economic times. It feels like everyone is on the verge of losing something: a house, a job, a friend who has cancer and cannot afford healthcare coverage. I feel jealous of Chris' freedom to work and go where he wants, yet I don't want the heavy responsibility of being the breadwinner. I am constantly beset by questioning God's purpose for us having kids so young, though I know that this is what God has planned for us. I see God's hand, in fleeting ways, and I wonder how to believe when I cannot see, how to surrender in God's presence when I can barely breathe, as Mary did after the angel told her she was to have a child,
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."

 When you are throwing up, or sleeping for hours and hours, its easy to feel connected to the exhaustion and sacrifice that Mary went through, along with her powerful words of surrender to God. The reality is, my life is not my own anymore. Do I truly believe this? I want to.

Christmas has never felt the same for me since my pregnancy. The lights, the sounds, the "Hallelujah" song, the angels,
all remind me that there is a mystery beyond my own path. They remind me that its' okay to be weak, tired, and at the mercy of God's loving hands. He is orchestrating my story.

When I was pregnant with Zoe, I was in a small car accident on my way to a prenatal appointment. I remember the shock of hitting the steering wheel, and the overwhelming fear when I realized I wasn't hurt---but what about my baby? The policeman arrived (in what felt like 30 seconds) and I surrendered to the complete helplessness of my situation. I cried, I was transferred to an ambulance to check out my vitals, and I was taken care of. God knew I would be in that accident. God knew Zoe would be safe.  Could it have been different? Certainly. I don't know where to go in these times but to a place of surrender.